In the hectic technology sector, the race to lead the revolution is often dominated by visionaries with an entrepreneurial spirit and an open mind to change. Marc Benioff has not only been able to combine these qualities, but we can also add friendliness, honesty and spontaneity. The result led to the founding of Salesforce, a company that made a commitment to the cloud environment two decades before the current boom and has always based its way of working on what he calls the "aloha spirit".
In Benioff's career he has not need to overcome any traumas that may have added a certain amount of drama. However, his passion and persistence could clearly be seen in the early years of his professional career. From his experience as an intern in Apple, where his work included Steve Jobs, he discovered a source of inspiration and we already saw his innovative spirit that was open to change.
As with a number of other successful personalities in the technology sector, Marc Benioff's genius brought him success at Oracle at only 26 years old, which is when he was promoted to vice-chairman. During the 13 years he worked the company he witnessed the ever-increasing the power of information, which would later lead to big data, and to him catching a glimpse of what would lay the foundations for his company: Cloud computing.
Two decades ahead of what would be: The success of the cloud.
With internet fever in full swing and after leaving Oracle, Benioff took a sabbatical which he used to travel, but when he returned to San Francisco he did not only have a handful of experiences, he now had an idea: To enable the creation of software and make it accessible through the internet. This is what brought about the founding of Salesforce in 1999, a pioneer in its commitment at that time to the cloud.
As one of the keys to his company's success, he points out that "as a company, you need to be the first to get to the future, ahead of your customers and be prepared to receive them when they get there." So it is no surprise that when cloud computing had not yet made the making headlines, Salesforce was already using this technology to improve the user experience. A step forward to be followed by those companies that still distributed software in physical format.
His commitment to a change of paradigm was strengthened by an accompanying vertiginous development of mobile phones, artificial intelligence, cloud, big data and other technologies that, according to Benioff, are transforming society from the way we work to the way we relate to each other.
Ethical innovation and development
Marc Benioff's success, beyond his commitment to a new technological model, is also determined by the way in which he achieved it. Since founding Salesforce, the founder has implemented within the company what he calls the aloha spirit: "A perspective that emphasises the importance of interacting in a friendly and honest way with those around us."
He was so eager to maintain the moral foundations that define his company, that he even implemented control initiatives to ensure that his product is used ethically and humanely. He also instituted the "1-1-1" business model that consists of donating 1% of its software, 1% of its income and 1% of labour through volunteering.
"The secret to contracting the best is to: Look for people who would like to change the world." Change is the precise fuel for innovation and it is only available to those visionaries who know how to adapt. But, as Marc Benioff exemplifies, development should not turn its back on ethical and humanitarian issues.
*Main image from World Economic Forum.